This article was edited by Jay Teachman.
Intergenerational Coresidence and Family Transitions in the United States, 1850–1880
Article first published online: 10 JAN 2011
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2011
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 73, Issue 1, pages 136–148, February 2011
How to Cite
Ruggles, S. (2011), Intergenerational Coresidence and Family Transitions in the United States, 1850–1880. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73: 136–148. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00794.x
- Issue published online: 10 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 10 JAN 2011
- family structure;
- intergenerational relations;
- living arrangements;
- social trends
This study uses a new source of linked census data (N = 6,734) to test theories proposed to explain the high intergenerational coresidence in 19th-century America. Was it a system of support for dependent elderly, or did it reflect intergenerational interdependence? I focus on transitions from middle age to old age, and I assess key predictors of family transitions, including widowhood, retirement, disability, migration, and wealth. The results show that adverse events precipitated changes in the headship of intergenerational families but did not increase the likelihood of residing in an intergenerational family. The findings suggest that 19th-century intergenerational coresidence was not principally a means of old-age support; more often, probably, there was a reciprocal relationship between generations.